Learning states of matter with quicksand

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States of matter is one of those concepts that students often find boring. Just look in any textbook and you’ll find solids, liquids and gases is presented to students through activities such as watching an ice cube melt or watching water boil. Not the most exciting activities for a teenager. So when my Year 8 class started their unit on states of matter, I wanted to find something that will excite them and hook them in.

Along came fake quicksand. Fake quicksand is an experiment I found from the Steve Spangler website. It is a simple experiment; it uses just cornflour and water. My Year 8s made quicksand this week to explore the properties of solid and liquids. We also discussed real quicksand and non-Newtonian fluids (they’re not in the syllabus, but students were interested so why not let them learn something they want to learn).

So if you’re a science teacher, you must try this experiment. Kids love it and learn from it. The cornflour to water ratio is 10:1 to make the perfect quicksand so you can turn it into a numeracy activity as well.

One thought on “Learning states of matter with quicksand

  1. Pingback: What do students think of their learning? | Alice Leung

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